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Tom Toles is worth a thousand words

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In related news, Evan Bayh has decided to retire. He said he wants to spend more time scolding his family for moving too far to the left.

By Ezra Klein  |  February 15, 2010; 10:07 AM ET
 
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Comments

Gridlock is good. Now if only we could repeal some of the laws that are making so many things bad.

Posted by: cpurick | February 15, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Evan Bayh Jr. what did I tell you about reading the New York Times? Only for half an hour a day and only after you have thoroughly studied your WSJ.

Posted by: Castorp1 | February 15, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Wahh!! Wahh!!

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | February 15, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

"He said he wants to spend more time scolding his family for moving too far to the left."

Best laugh I've had in days. Thanks, Ezra!

Posted by: rt42 | February 15, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Bayh knew he was going to get thumped like a number of his colleagues this Nov. If you're keeping score at home that's McDonell in VA, Christie in NJ, Brown in MA, and now Bayh in IN.

And these results are still not to be viewed as a referendum on Obama or his policies, right Ezra?

Gimme a break. Dems are clowns and will soon be handing the keys to the country back over to level headed adults (GOP).

Posted by: superman32 | February 15, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Interesting that Bayh chose to do this four days before the filing deadline for the primary. Is there any possible explanation for this other than to guarantee a GOP pickup? Is he even more angry at the Dems than Lieberman?

Posted by: zimbar | February 15, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

@Superman: "Dems are clowns and will soon be handing the keys to the country back over to level headed adults (GOP)."

I, too, am looking forward to a potential Republican sweep in November. But let's not go crazy. If you're expecting Republican *politicians* to govern like Reaganesque communicators with the economic chops of a Thomas Sowell, you're going to be as bitterly disappointed as a Single Payer agitator when Scott Brown won Massachusetts.

Folks like Bayh retiring is not good for conservatives. He may not have been a right-winger, but he functioned as an internal impediment to the ultra-liberals in the Democratic party, and folks like Bayh helped keep the Democrats closer to the center then they will be without him. While he's no Zell Miller, he's also no Barbara Boxer. Perhaps partisan rancor that may make some Republicans happy to see a given resignation just because there is a (D) next to their name, but Bayh was not a bad guy.

Now, there's an argument that a Democratic party populated with nothing but Barbara Boxers and Dick Durbins would serve to marginalize the party as a whole, but I think it's better when the parties have bigger tents. The smaller the tents get, the more ideologically polarized everybody is, the less chance there is for anything to get done (and this includes shrinking government and repealing bad laws).

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 15, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

@zimvar: "Is there any possible explanation for this other than to guarantee a GOP pickup? Is he even more angry at the Dems than Lieberman?"

Yeah, the DNC is sick of him and told him to get out. If he was told he wasn't going to be backed by the DNC or that they'd fund a candidate in a race against him, he might just decide not to run.

I think it's more likely they want him out. I expect there are many people in the Democratic party who feel the party would be better off without the blue dogs than it is with them.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 15, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

"Gimme a break. Dems are clowns and will soon be handing the keys to the country back over to level headed adults (GOP)."

Yeah - can't wait to return to the success of the Bush/Cheney years. The last decade was awesome and proved Reaganomics works. Now all you poor people stop complaining, and wait for my tax break to trickle down!

Posted by: kmani1 | February 15, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

@Kevin_Willis: Your point is valid, but I think and hope that 2010 will hold two distinct differences over 1994. (1) The GOP got power and it corrupted them. They became the establishment and their reckless spending became their undoing. Power always has the potential to corrupt, but the GOP have a very recent lesson of what will happen if they lose their way again. (2) Obama is no Bill Clinton. Clinton took his medicine and moved right a la welfare reform. He personally didn't do long term damage to the party's prospects. Obama is the personification of what has always scared most Americans about liberals and their agenda. By the end of his first (and only) term he will have destroyed the Democrat brand for at least a decade.

The public has always seemed to rally around a conservative message and agenda, but past Republican congresses didn't feel they had the cover to be themselves. Obama, Pelosi and Reid have provided that cover.

Posted by: superman32 | February 15, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

@kmani1: Anyone who thinks any political philosophy or system will rid the world of poverty is a fool, but taking from those who earn and giving to those who do not earn at an ever increasing rate is not a viable solution. Poor people are poor for myriad reasons: circumstances, bad decisions, lack of education, inability to delay gratification, poor health, among many others. The seminal difference between liberals and conservatives is simple. Life is not fair, never has been, never will be. Everyone is equal under the law and in the eyes of God, but everyone isn't equal. Liberals cannot or will not accept that. Conservatives accept it and make the best of life for themselves and others around them.

Posted by: superman32 | February 15, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

@superman32: No need to start preaching about life and fairness. Just pointing out that the "level-headed" GOP was in charge for most of the decade and the country was left in shambles (to clarify, by shambles, I mean the middle class being stagnant, the deficit, the unregulated casino that was the housing boom, a trillion dollar war based on false premises, etc). If you want to discuss the merits of those policy decisions I am happy to do so.

Obama was elected because he represented a change to all of that (which admittedly he hasn't brought fast enough). His policies are nowhere near radical and the more you claim that the harder it is to take you seriously. For example, the health care bills basically preserve the employer-based system and create a regulated market to buy private insurance for everyone else (don't make me start listing the concessions that progressives have made during the process).

Furthermore, he has extended an olive branch time after time to Republicans who have neither accepted it nor proposed a clear alternative (a notable exception is Paul Ryan, whose budget I am happy to discuss as well).

The GOP obstructionism is paralyzing this country. A majority of the people elected Obama and 57 Democrats to the Senate. Our constitution gives them the right to enact their agenda - if the people don't like it they'll be replaced in the next election- that is how democracy works. If the GOP doesn't like the current make-up of Congress, I suggest they try and win more elections by pitching their ideas, not obstructing EVERY piece of legislation that comes from the majority.

Posted by: kmani1 | February 15, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

@kmani1: Wow, those grapes must really be sour. Help me understand this: you get the most liberal member of the Senate elected President, you get the most liberal Congresswoman elected Speaker, you also had a nearly filibuster proof majority in the upper chamber, you had thru the roof public approve numbers and the reason your party couldn't move it's agenda was because of the Republicans? Are you kidding me?

Could it be that the Dems don't know how to govern? Or is it that once the country saw what kind of domestic change Obama began implementing (an impotent trillion dollar stimulus, nationalizing auto giants, nationalizing insurance companies, total healthcare overhaul, cap and trade, financial regulation)they were angered about the bill of goods they had been sold?

You suggest the GOP should win more elections? Take heart, my friend, they will beginning with the next big one. The Dems are gonna lose and lose huge.

Posted by: superman32 | February 15, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

@superman32: Lifelong Democrat here. When you assert: "The Dems are gonna lose and lose huge," I agree. We've earned it, we deserve it, and I'm going to help make sure it happens. Not for any of the reasons you mention.

I'll be voting against Democrats this year the same way I've voted against Republicans all my life. Because they helped you win.

You, superman32, and your ilk, you've won. You own the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, you own American politics. You own it all. You're the top. You're the victor. You've won it all. Congratulations! You won!

You can have it.

Posted by: NealB1 | February 16, 2010 2:02 AM | Report abuse

@superman32: Actually I do agree with you on one thing - the Democrats blew their chance to make some meaningful change when they had 60 votes. I won't deny that the delays on health care (primarily Baucus and his gang of six obsession) gave opponents the chance to define the debate. And Reid allowed Nelson and Lieberman to become the power brokers. All of this was not productive to achieving meaningful reform.

However, although Obama hasn't won the PR battle, he's still on the right side of most of the policy (http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/02/republicans-not-obama-more-often-on.html). The public supports most of the provisions of the health care bills (the exchanges, the subsidies, the insurance regulation, etc). They are, however, shockingly unaware of what is in the actual bill (http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/02/health-care-information-gap-more.html). This fact, along with people thinking the bill doesn't go far ENOUGH, is why it polls the way it does.

The debate also hasn't highlighted the fact that tens of thousands of Americans die every year because they don't have access to health insurance. These are needless deaths which can be prevented. The Senate bill would add 36 million people to the insurance rolls, while its Republican alternative scored by the CBO would only add 3 million (barely accounting for population growth). It's not a perfect plan but it's much better than the status quo.

Outside of health care, a majority of Americans support financial reform and energy independence, both of which Obama has tried to prioritize (House has passed versions of both issues). These plans aren't perfect either, but are also better than the current state of affairs.

People are rightfully angry about the economy, government spending and the gridlock in Congress, but most of these issues are actually not Obama's fault (e.g. the deficit was largely a result of sharply lower tax revenues, which would have occurred regardless of who was president - the stimulus, while necessary, barely made a dent).

If Republicans are put back in charge, I sincerely hope they come with some new ideas. Tax cuts for the wealthy and deregulation won't help America now.

Posted by: kmani1 | February 16, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

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